Hungry, Hunrgry Sourdough Tutorial

Yesterday I raved about my new New England Sourdough. I also shared how I am terrible with following written instructions, so I thought to share a tutorial. Now your sourdough starter will undoubtedly come with instructions of it’s own. Please read them carefully incase they are different than the ones from Cultures for Health. Here is a basic tutorial on how to feed your baby sourdough starter. Like all babies they are hungry, hungry, hungry!

For this tutorial we will stick with a 1/2 cup of sourdough starter.

For this tutorial we will stick with a 1/2 cup of sourdough starter.

Place your starter in a non-reactive bowl.

Place your starter in a non-reactive bowl.

Pour in 1/2 cup of room temperature water. The water can be slightly warm, but not hot or cold. The extremes can kill your starter.

Pour in 1/2 cup of room temperature water. The water can be slightly warm, but not hot or cold. The extremes can kill your starter.

Stir the starter to incorporate the water. It will look like a sloppy, cloudy mess.

Stir the starter to incorporate the water. It will look like a sloppy, cloudy mess.

Add a scant cup of flour to the water sourdough starter.

Add a scant cup of flour to the water sourdough starter.

Stir again to incorporate all the flour.

Stir again to incorporate all the flour.

Now the starter will look wet and lumpy.

Now the starter will look wet and lumpy.

Cover with a paper towel or a tea towel and place in a warm area. It should be at least 70 F, but no more than 85F . Trying to save money on heating? Place the bowl in a cold oven and turn on the light. The light from the oven should keep it sufficiently warm.

Cover with a paper towel or a tea towel and place in a warm area. It should be at least 70 F, but no more than 85F . Trying to save money on heating? Place the bowl in a cold oven and turn on the light. The light from the oven should keep it sufficiently warm.

New England Sourdough

After my last post, I received my New England Sourdough Starter from

Cultures for Health. Now I’ve tried sourdough a few times before without success. I researched trying to find the easiest, most forgiving sourdough, because face it I had all but thrown in the towel. Finally I found this starter and was encouraged by the reviews. I have found it to be everything that the reviewers claimed. Now on a side note, I did manage to kill this sourdough, through no fault of it’s own. Thankfully I had some starter saved back in the fridge and was able to make a new batch.

So my starter arrived in the mail in this cute little box with instructions. I have to admit, I was hooked. Unfortunately I am not one for following directions, somehow something always seems to get lost in the translation. I did great the first couple of days. I discarded everything but 1/2 cup of starter 3 times before I realized I didn’t have to do that every. single. time…..see lost in the translation! Thankfully I had set the excess aside in the fridge. My goal was to use the excess to make sourdough pancakes and sourdough crepes . However my plans were for naught.

The night before I was going to make the pancakes, I started hemorrhaging from my miscarriage (it wasn’t complete at that point) and had to be rushed to the hospital. Thankfully after almost 24 hours, a procedure in the ER, followed by a surgery, I was allowed to go home. Unfortunately I lost a lot of blood and was suffering from acute blood loss anemia. So I spent the rest of the week in bed. Finally on Friday I felt strong enough to venture into the kitchen and much to my dismay the starter was dead. Now before you judge me, I had at that point known we lost our baby 4 weeks prior. I had time to adjust and mourn our loss, and at that point needed some normalcy for my own sanity. I wasn’t very hopeful that anything could be salvaged. I scooped out some of the reserved starter and fed it. Much to my amazement it grew!

Refrigerated sourdough starter

Refrigerated sourdough starter

Now I know everyone deals with grief differently, but for me the sourdough has been very therapeutic. I have to nurture the starter for it to grow, and experiment with it to produce anything worthwhile. In turn it allows me to nourish my family, which somehow produces a sense of satisfaction. It is something that I can control, when so much in my life has been beyond my control lately. The children have also really gotten into it and love helping me feed the starter or bake with it. Sourdough has become a family affair!

Into the oven (no heat, but oven light is kept on)!

Into the oven (no heat, but oven light is kept on) we go!

While I have yet to try the pancakes or crepes, I have tried other delicious recipes with success. I can’t wait to share them with you! I hope that you enjoy them as much as we have. Do you like sourdough? Have you ever tried growing your own starter or baking with one? I would love to hear your experiences or try your recipes!

6 hours later we have a beautifully fed sourdough, ready to be used!

6 hours later we have a beautifully fed sourdough, ready to be used!

Growths and Pruning on the Vine

So many things have happened since I’ve last been on graftedvine. I decided to try another blog, break out of the rut that I had gotten myself into. Turns out a change of scenery didn’t help all that much. I  need to be true to myself, write what is relevant to me. Before I tried to write what I thought my readers would want to see, what would draw more people to the blog. Unfortunately that was a complete drain on me. So my goal this year is to share me, my life, my hopes, dreams, and failures. What you see is what you get. I hope that someone will enjoy it, but if not that’s ok. This blog is for me, not for others.

So some of the highlights from 2013: Baby fruit is walking, talking, and climbing. Nothing seems to be wrong with her spinal cord (praise God!) Eldest fruit completed the 1st grade, it was crunch time over the summer to make sure that we covered everything. Honestly I think the crunch was my fault, trying prove that I can do home school. hah! Middle fruit is growing like a weed and just adventurous as ever. We took our first family vacation in 5 years. We had a wonderful time in Charleston and Savannah! It was a great time of bonding and relaxing as a family, truly something we  needed. We found out that we were expecting a 4th little fruit! Christmas was a low-key event as the children all came down with a tummy bug. Despite the sickness they still enjoyed themselves. On the home school front we switched to My Father’s World. I wanted to make sure that I had everything covered this year, and not feel panicked when it was time for our evaluation.

So far in 2014: School is plugging along, I feel more relaxed about everything. Middle fruit just got some preschool workbooks to help keep him busy during school time. His favorite activity is cutting and pasting. Littlest fruit is getting several new teeth in all at once. This is a very exciting, but painful time for her. At 10 weeks pregnant we found out that our 4th fruit hadn’t developed properly and we were looking at a possible miscarriage. At 12 weeks, the miscarriage has started. Prayers are appreciated during this painful (both physical and emotional) time.

Garden: Our garden didn’t do so well this year for multiple reasons. I was having symptoms of anemia again, so I had no energy to put into the garden. It languished under my inattention and then came under attack by ground hogs. Hubby and I did our best to chase these intruders off. I can still see us running out our back door weapon in hand (shovel, hoe, garden claw, etc) to dispose of this foe. Unfortunately they were too savvy and quick, having multiple escape routes out of our yard.

Currently there are snowflakes swirling about outside, while I lay huddle on my couch. I’m not in any physical shape to do much yet as the miscarriage is still in progress. I flip through seed catalogs daydreaming of warmer weather and making plans for the future.  Trusting in my Gardner who brings new growth and prunes away the excess.